If you met Andrew Aguero any time within the past year and a half, you couldn’t fail to notice his excitement. He’d just been signed on as director of operations of the Brut Hotel, the lavish new dwelling space created in a hulking apartment building just south of downtown. 

They wanted a hotel focused on health and wellness, Aguero told me. There’s a store downstairs selling fresh local milk, a spa offering massage and aromatherapy in a building next door and, on weekend mornings, meditation and yoga classes in the gardens.  

Aguero had been a restaurant manager for years, both here and in Texas, so he focused his attention on the rooftop restaurant and bar. 

“The rooftop bar is going to be a showstopper,” he gushed on social media many months ago. “Stunning custom woodwork creates intimate dining spaces for memorable experiences.” 

And, unlike much of what you see on social media, what he said became a reality. Furniture and wall hangings in bright yet neutral colors provide a smart and somewhat Scandinavian ambiance. All this is backdrop for the stunning view. The dining room is on the ninth floor and overlooks a section of Tulsa that, from above, looks like a verdant forest. There’s a back room (one of those intimate dining spaces) where the trees come right up to the glass and you feel like you’re in a treehouse. From the front windows, visible from many of the tables as well as from the leather covered seats at the long bar, it’s as if you’re gliding over a lovely woodland, and the view goes on for miles. The north side has a view of downtown’s skyscrapers, and if you walk out on the patio, full of cushioned lounge chairs, you’ll see the river.

You might come for the view, but you’ll stay for the food. Veteran chef Matt Shipley, who has worked at a long list of Tulsa eateries including Rusty Crane and Mr. Nice Guys, has designed a short yet memorable menu, working in conjunction with Aguero and Rob Stewart of Chimera Cafe.

They spent months and months workshopping concepts in Chimera’s kitchen, sometimes running “test kitchens” where they’d try out recipes on eager diners. The concept, Aguero says, is tropical American. 

“We’ll take techniques, spices, recipes from the Caribbean, Middle East and South and East Asia, and make it approachable, give it a sense of American familiarity,” he says. 

You can spend all day eating at Soma. There’s breakfast in the morning (brunch on weekends), with treats like chilaquiles, breakfast bowls and tacos, avocado toast and blueberry pineapple pancakes with coconut syrup. Lunch features salads, sandwiches and a daily vegetable curry. 

At dinner, you can get small dishes such as kimchi, pomegranate hummus and stuffed marinated peppers, followed by a more substantial entree, such as steak frites or za’atar rubbed chicken breast. The salmon really is a showstopper; seared and glazed with a rich, sweet Korean gochujiang sauce, the dish is served with grilled bok choy and cabbage and coconut broth. The bright lollipop colors of the orange salmon, purple cabbage and green bok choy are arranged to look like a flower, and real flowers provide a garnish. The dish is so beautiful, it might even distract your attention from the view.

Photo credits: Brunch goodies at Soma include classics like avocado toast (main image) alongside bowls like the Barge (above) – with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, black beans, greens and your choice of veggies or pulled pork. Photos by Stephanie Phillips

Previous articleA Culinary Destiny
Next articleAlways More Room at the Table